August 28, 2015

Talking It Cryptic

So for a while when I received weirdly worded communications from others, I thought "Gee, this person doesn't know how to communicate!"

They aren't saying what they mean or aren't saying it clearly, and I am having to decipher it, read between the lines (more than usual) and certainly not always getting it right. 

I seriously thought some of these people needed to go for remedial communications and project management training, and was more than willing to send them.

Then, I started to see the bigger picture and context and it was beginning to all make sense.

The terse messages, the cryptic language, the dancing around the topic...these were not (necessarily) because the person couldn't communicate well, but it was intentional!

No, they weren't trying to mess with me.

They were afraid to say what they really wanted to say--not to me, but generally speaking.  


Conjecture, but perhaps they didn't want "it" so explicit, they didn't want a flagrant (unnecessary) trail, they didn't want to potentially get in any trouble. 

So they truncate, obfuscate, used "code" words (not real code, symbolic) and otherwise made the communications so vague that they had plausible deniability or could interpret it just about any which way they wanted.

Ah, sort of a "get out of jail free card"--self made, signed, sealed, and delivered.

This is the art of being cryptic!

Fear and overly strict political correctness is not a good thing when what you really need is clear and honest communications from folks.

We do ourselves a disservice by "playing games," keeping hidden agendas, and protecting ourselves over the necessity to get the mission accomplished and done well.

Perhaps when people are caught between competing masters and agendas, they are "forced" to do this to get the job done, stay alive, and in the important game we all must play in life.

Ink a dink a bottle of ink the cap fell off and you that?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

1 comment:

Pete said...

At my own agency, I attempted a crusade for adhering to the law... P.L. 111-274, aka The Plain Writing Act of 2010. I nearly caused an insurrection. Amazingly, many people felt that plain english didn't 'sound professional'. It is astonishing to me that people resist saying exactly what they mean in the way that you describe. Yet they persist... Good luck, if you want to join the crusade.